Texas Wesleyan University is celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year.
Throughout the university’s 125 years there’s no doubt that drastic changes have been made. There have been official name changes, building changes, several renovations, and even changes to our very own mascot.
Today, most people know our mascot to be ram. But, the first official mascot was a parrot. This was when the name of the university was Polytechnic College which was founded in the fall 1890. But, the university didn’t open until the fall of 1891, according to the university archivist Louis Sherwood.
“They had the parrot at first but a lot of students didn’t like that,” he said. “It didn’t seem fierce enough I guess.”
The university made the decision to change the mascot to a panther due to the legend of panthers in downtown Fort Worth, Sherwood said.
“They felt like it was more interesting if they could have something a little more robust,” he said.
The university was officially named Texas Women’s College in the fall of 1914. During this period there was some sports competition, but there is some uncertainty to weather a mascot really was present, he said.
“I don’t know if they had a mascot per say,” he said.
Finally, in 1934 the university adopted the name we know it was today, Texas Wesleyan University. In the same year, the board of trustees voted to readmit men into the university. The school went back to being co-ed and that’s when the ram became our mascot.
Wesleyan’s spirit coordinator, Carolyn Ikens said the university used to have two LIVE rams. One was female and the other was male, known as Willie.
“Her name was Wilamena,” Ikens said. “When we got a mascot suit we changed it to Wilamae.”
Ikens said they participated in several parades and even made appearances to games in the gym. The two rams were actually kept on campus, but due to liability issues they were no longer included in campus activities.
“The ram has been featured in the Fort Worth Stock Show parade, and the Fort Worth Parade of Lights.” Sherwood said.
Ikens said that the university didn’t get the female suit until about 2012.
“I wanted to have more variety in our look.” she said.
Willie and Wilamae can be seen at most home basketball games, President’s Picnic, Mid-night Madness, and many other campus events.